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insistence that key to the u.s. beginning to pay down its debt and avoid going over the fiscal cliff is raising tax rates on the wealthiest americans. >> we're going to have to see the rates on the top 2% go up, and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it. >> reporter: if republicans agree to do that, the president told bloomberg television, he'll agree to serious spending cuts. republicans have offered to raise taxes on higher incomes by $800 billion, not by raising tax rates, but by eliminating some deductions and loopholes. during last year's budget showdown, the president said he wanted to do exactly that. >> what we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. >> reporter: but now the president does not. he says it will not raise enough revenue. >> it's not me being stubborn. it's not me being partisan. it's just a m
and southwestern grilled chicken salad. and some fence mending. but down the street, on capitol hill, was where the real fireworks were. partisan sniping and a clear sign that talks on averting the so-called fiscal cliff and preventing a big tax hike for everybody are going backwards fast. just listen to the democratic senate leader talking about the speaker of the house today. >> i don't understand his brain, so, you should ask him. >> reporter: president obama and speaker boehner spoke by phone last night in a call sources tell abc news was blunt and unproductive. both men refusing to give ground on the issue of tax rates for the wealthy. obama insisting they go up, boehner insisting they don't. >> listen, this is not a game. jobs are on the line. the american economy is on the line. this is a moment for adult leadership. >> reporter: and taxes aren't the only sticking point. republicans are demanding the president come forward with a plan to limit spending on medicare and social security, something many democrats say is just not acceptable. >> i didn't have my own card with me. jill wouldn't
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